Inviting Nominations for V Venkayya Epigraphy Award, 2022

Sunitha Madhavan and Tamil Heritage Trust are proud and happy to announce a new annual award, one of its kind, in the memory of Rai Bahadur Shri V Venkayya, a pioneering Epigrapher who became the first Indian Chief Epigraphist to the Government of India. 

The award has been instituted by the great-granddaughter of Shri V Venkayya, Smt. Sunitha Madhavan, who has recently published his biography due to persuasion and encouragement by Shri R Nagaswamy.

The V Venkayya Epigraphy Award (VVE Award) aims to recognize exceptional individual contributions, any Indian language, towards the discovery of unrecorded inscriptions, interpretation of inscriptions from a refreshingly new perspective, dissemination of wealth of knowledge contained in them by conventional as well as digital medium and preservation of Epigraphic resources for posterity. 

By rewarding outstanding work in this area, the Award aspires to encourage interest and involvement of all the stakeholders including the general public in Indian Heritage and Epigraphy, in particular, thereby raising the awareness and appreciation of history, literature, arts, and culture which deserve our attention and care. 

The award aims to recognize and reward the efforts and achievements of individuals. Thus, collective enterprises like societies, trusts and Section 8 companies, and other interest groups will not be eligible for the award. 

The Award is based on a nomination and selection process. 

The Award will consist of a citation and a prize of Rs.20000/- 

(Rai Bahadur) Shri V.Venkayya, born in 1864 in the lineage of the illustrious scholar Appaya Dikshita of the 16th century, was one of the pioneering epigraphists of India. His contribution to understanding the inscriptions of Pallavas, starting with Mamallapuram and Cholas with Brahadeeswara Temple, broke new ground in the field of Epigraphy in India. He also deciphered the writing (legends) on coins. 

A chance meeting with Dr. E. Hultzsch, the famous German Indologist and ASI’s first Chief Epigraphist, at Mamallapuram turned the obscure school teacher into an expert in epigraphy, who eventually became the first Indian Chief Epigraphist to the Government of India. His stellar effort in unraveling, recording, and deciphering hundreds of lithic and copper-plate inscriptions of Pallavas, Cholas, Pandyas, and others through publications like “South Indian Inscriptions” inspired many epigraphists and historians to record, reconstruct and write the history of South India in a new light with never before found clarity and scholarship. 

In the words of John H. Marshall, Director General of the Archaeological Survey of India from 1902 to 1928, ‘From first to last, his life in the Archaeological Department was one of assiduous labour and devotion to duty and his work throughout was characterized by sound scholarship.

Nomination Process 

1. Any individual can nominate any other individual whom they believe has done noteworthy work in the area of Epigraphy in any Indian language 

2. Individuals can also nominate themselves. 

3. An individual can send only one nomination. 

4. The nominee must be a citizen of India and ordinarily resident in India. 

5. Nominations must be sent by email to to reach us before June 26, 2022

6. There is no Nomination Form. 

7. A Nomination must consist of the following: 

a. Personal Details: Full Name, Full Address, Mobile Number, Email id, Scanned Passport size Photograph, Brief biodata of the Nominee 

b. Details of Contribution to Epigraphy: Details of actual work done by the nominee, with particular emphasis to work in the past ten years. The details may be sent in any one of the following formats: MS Word, MS Powerpoint, or PDF. 

c. Supporting Documentation: Documentary evidence of the work done by the nominee could include copies of papers submitted, articles written in journals, newspapers, or magazines, links to any websites or blogs run by the nominee, lists of talks given, courses conducted, links to social media presence, etc. 

8. Nominations and accompanying details to be in English only. 

Selection of Winner 

A jury comprising experts from the field of Epigraphy, History, and Heritage and members of the THT Award Committee will select the winner. 

As a part of the selection process, the members of the jury may choose to have an interaction with the nominee in person or over the phone. 

Award Ceremony & Award Lecture 

The V Venkayya Epigraphy Award will be presented at a formal ceremony on July 23, 2022 in Chennai

The Winner will be invited to present the Award Lecture at the Ceremony. The Winner may choose a topic of her/his choice and will be required to submit the manuscript of the lecture for publication at least a week before the ceremony. The Award Lecture should preferably be in English. 


Am I eligible to enter? 

We welcome nomination from any individual but the nominee should be a citizen and is ordinarily resident in India. Organisations and institutions – like Societies, Trusts, and Interest Groups etc – are not eligible. 

What is the Last Date for Nomination? 

The last date for the Nomination to reach THT is June 26, 2022. 

What are the criteria for selection? 

The judges will look for, among other qualities and parameters: 

 New epigraphical discoveries or insights 

 The thoroughness of knowledge in the chosen area 

 Scholarly rigour in the individual’s output 

 Demonstrable eagerness to share with the public and involve them in a dialog 

 Consistency and persistence of the effort 

In what language should the Nomination be submitted? 

Nominations can be sent in English only. 

Is there an Entry Fee? 

No, there is no fee involved. 

When will the winner be announced? 

The winner will be announced shortly before the Award Ceremony and the Award Lecture.


When and where is the Awards Ceremony? 

The Ceremony will take place on July 23rd, 2022 in Chennai. The time will be announced later. 

Is it necessary for the Winner to deliver the Award Lecture? 

Yes, the Winner will be expected to deliver the Award Lecture at the Ceremony, preferably in English, on a topic of her/his choice. 

Terms + Conditions of entry 

The Award will be made solely at the discretion of the Jury. No feedback or correspondence will be entered into about the results and the Jury’s decision is final.